Fire department says holiday decorations can create elevated risk of house fires

MADISON, Wis. — A Christmas tree shining in the window brings a merry feeling to the holiday season, but fire officials say this time of year also brings a heightened risk for house fires.

Plenty of things in your home can pose a safety risk, especially this time of year. It’s mostly due to the trees many families have, which can dry out quickly if they aren’t watered every day.

The Madison Fire Department’s fire protection engineer, Bill Sullivan, says when the needles get dry, they can go up in flames in just a matter of seconds.

“The big thing with the Christmas trees is that they’re not necessarily an ignition source, but when the fire does start, they can add a significant amount to the fire and really rapidly increase the size of the fire,” Sullivan said.

He says when it comes to decorations, it’s important to keep all candles at least 12 inches away from the tree, or even better, use battery-operated candles that have an artificial flame.